Thursday, February 15, 2007

Jimmy Duncan bends it like George Washington

The one downside to turning to The Tennessean for news and commentary when you live in East Tennessee is that they are often as clueless about what goes on here as East Tennesseans were before the digital age about what was happening in Nashville. In today's society, we can find the information we need at the touch of a button, and The Tennessean can and does cover many East Tennessee political happenings far better than the Knoxville News-Sentinel ever could. A headline from today's paper, though, shows that some folks in Nashville are still a bit behind on affairs here.

In a top-tier headline on the website, The Tennessean ran a story this morning about Second District Congressman John J. "Jimmy" Duncan Jr.'s opposition to the war and support of the resolution rebuking the present Iraq policy-and they ran this as if it were somehow new information. As a former resident of the Second District, I knew all along that Congressman Duncan was opposed to the war, and he wasn't a Johnny-come-lately like so many Democrats and not a few Republicans are. Duncan saw the forest from the trees in the very beginning, he voted no on the use of force resolution in Iraq to begin with.

I always felt good about that because Jimmy Duncan voting against the war and stating so in a very public way made me feel like I was not alone. As a conservative and a Republican, you have a tendency to feel like people look at you with strange and questioning eyes if you dare speak out against the war. You are viewed as some sort of peacenik anti-military type, and your being a conservative and a Republican means you must support the president like a blind mouse, according to some. I have had at least one instance since the war began where my credentials as a conservative were questioned in a group of other conservatives because I spoke my mind honestly about the stupidity of the war in Iraq. Saying that doesn't mean that I don't support our fighting men-I question sending them into a war that they cannot militarily win, they deserve better.

My Dad was an Army man, his sister was a Marine. His Dad fought at The Bulge. My mother's brother was also in the Army. I am a gunowner and I support the notion of an overly strong Navy and Air Force to promote American interests (see The Influence of Sea Power Upon History). What I am opposed to are missions that amount to military ignorance. Our commanders on the ground are intelligent men and have good military minds. I scarcely believe that if any of them had the role of Commander-in-Chief that they would commit our fighting men and women to war in Iraq considering the circumstances which they would be subjected to, because it is impossible to win a military victory-something military men are trained to achieve.

Jimmy Duncan understands that and he has a clear vision of America's duty to first see to our own business.

"There is no way … we can keep all of our promises to our own people … in the years ahead if we keep trying to run the whole world," Duncan said. "If you find out you are going the wrong way down the interstate, you do not keep going, you get off at the next exit."

Whose mind is closer to the founders of our country? Next week we celebrate the birth of George Washington, and it used to be that his Farewell Address was read in the House of Representatives every year on February 22. That custom has ceased, probably because of these lines:

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice? It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.

You can safely substitute any part of today's world for "Europe" in that address.

So a note to The Tennessean-Jimmy Duncan's opposition to this war is hardly new. In fact, he follows a long line of great Americans, starting with the Father of our country.



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